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Differences between AZ-103 and AZ-104 Exam

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Want to know the difference between AZ-103 and AZ-104 exam? Let’s find out. 

Right now, Microsoft Azure certifications are among the most in demand certification in the field of IT. Its role-based model is one of the reasons why Microsoft Azure certifications are so sought out after. If you are planning to become a Microsoft Azure Administrator, then the AZ-103 exam is the current valid exam for the role. This certification ensures that qualified candidates are capable of addressing real-life tasks. However, due to the changing demands of the business environment, Microsoft Azure has to transform and introduce new products alongside changing the focus of its certifications. Therefore, the AZ-104 exam is the revised version of the existing AZ-103 certification exam.

If you are planning to go for this Microsoft Azure certification, you must be aware of the differences between AZ-103 and AZ-104 so that you can avoid any confusion regarding both exams and appear for the right one. Let’s find out the difference between the AZ-103 and AZ-104 exam.

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AZ-103 vs. AZ-104 Certification Exam

To start off, you should know that the AZ-104 exam is the new standard certification exam for the role of Microsoft Azure Administrator since March 31, 2020. The good news is that Microsoft Azure has not retired the AZ-103 exam as of yet.

Azure follows a 90-day phased schedule for launching the new Azure Administrator certification exam. This means that both the AZ-104 and the AZ-103 exams will be available simultaneously for 90-days before the latter retires. According to the official website of Microsoft Azure, the AZ-103 certification exam will retire around June 30, 2020.

The AZ-103 certification exam is available in four languages, such as English, Simplified Chinese, Japanese, and Korean whereas, AZ-104 is presently in the beta stage and is available only in the English language. However, the registration fee for both the exams is the same i.e., $165 USD.

Another similarity between AZ-104 and AZ-103 certification exams is the target audience. As you all know, the AZ-104 certification exam is the new version of the existing certification exam for the Microsoft Azure Administrator. Therefore, the target audience for both the exams are the same. They should have a six months of hands-on experience in administration of Azure workloads. In addition, they should be well adept in security, core Azure services, workloads, and governance.

We can see that both exams help in validating the capability of candidates for the job of Azure Administrator. However, the comparison also shows that the new version of the AZ-103 certification exam i.e., AZ-104 is somewhat comprehensive and more suited for new job roles of Microsoft Azure Administrators.

A prominent factor that helps in determining the differences between AZ-103 and AZ-104 exam is the exam prerequisite. There are no prerequisites either for the AZ-103 or the AZ-104 exams however, there is a set of recommended knowledge and experience requirements that make a candidate ideal for every Azure certification exam. In the case of the new Azure Administrator certification exam i.e., AZ-104, candidates can find more knowledge and experience requirements as compared to the AZ-103 certification exam. Here are the prerequisites that establish essential differentiation in the AZ-103 vs AZ-104 debate.

  • Six months of practical experience in administering Azure workloads.
  • Promising fluency in core Azure Services.
  • In-depth understanding of Azure workloads, governance, and security.
  • Experience in the use of Azure Portal, PowerShell, and Command Line Interface and ARM templates.
  • Strong skills in networking, cloud infrastructure, virtualization, storage structures, and operating systems.

The differences between the AZ-103 and AZ-104 certification exam are also visible in the domains covered in each exam.

The AZ-103 certification exam covers the following domains:

  • Management of Azure subscriptions and resources.
  • Implementation and management of storage.
  • Deployment and management of virtual machines (VMs).
  • Configuration and management of virtual networks.
  • Identity management.

On the other hand, the exam AZ-104 deals with the following domains:

  • Management of Azure identities and governance.
  • Implementation and management of storage.
  • Deployment and management of computing resources.
  • Configuration and management of virtual networks.
  • Monitoring and backup of Azure resources.

The foremost highlight about the new Azure Administrator certification exam i.e., the AZ-104 exam, is that the first domain changes its focus from subscriptions and resources towards identities and governance. The subtopics obviously differ only with the similarity of focus on the management of role-based access control (RBAC).

· Attention towards Management of Data in Azure Storage

The debate on AZ-103 vs AZ-104 is necessary for estimating the suitability of both certification exams for modern Azure Administrator job roles. AZ-104, presents the same second domain, although with an increased focus on the management of data. The second domain dealing with implementation and management of storage in both the AZ-103 and AZ-104 exams shows contrasting differences in both exams.

While the AZ-103 certification exam dealt with topics such as creation and configuration of storage accounts in this domain, the new exam additionally deals with the management of storage accounts. The AZ-103 certification exam included topics only on importing and exporting data to Azure. On the other hand, AZ-104 focuses on the management of data in Azure storage.

· Special Domain for Backup and Recovery

The new Azure Administrator certification exam also dedicates a specific domain for backup and recovery. Rather than including Azure backup in the implementation and management of Azure Storage, a new domain dedicated to monitoring and backup of Azure resources highlights the AZ-104 certification exam. The new domain includes subtopics that involve the use of Azure Monitor for monitoring resources and implementing backup and recovery.

· Focus on Compute Resources

Another prominent difference that one could notice in the domains of the Azure Administrator certification exams is the change in focus from virtual machines to compute resources. The new Azure Administrator certification exam i.e., AZ-104 dedicates the third domain for deployment and management of Azure Compute resources. Candidates will also find subtopics regarding the creation and configuration of Web Apps and containers in the new domain included in AZ-104.

Candidates can clearly notice that the new Azure Administrator certification exam brings a lot of opportunities and challenges. Candidates have to learn new topics and develop expertise in different domains for qualifying the Microsoft Azure certification for the Azure Administrator job role. The facility of credible guidance and trusted advice on preparing for the new exam is highly crucial for any candidate.

Therefore, a clear understanding of the differences between the existing and new versions of an Azure certification exam can help candidates find the right preparation tools. Furthermore, awareness of the differences helps candidates establish the suitability of their existing preparation and skillset for the certification exams.

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